“As mega pixels go up…my business goes down!” - From the crowd in Austin, TX
Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007
Last night we had a very engaging group of photographers that asked some amazing questions. One of the attendees had a great observation in regards to the digital revolution. “I always thought technology was supposed to make my life easier”, he stated! We have had the pleasure of having a new team member with us on the road this leg, my wife of 7 ½ weeks Terri! She spent Thanksgiving in Dallas with her daughter and son-in-law and then met up with us in Dallas and is traveling throughout Texas for tour leg#3. She has been a wonderful addition and an awesome driver between the cities. I hope you have the opportunity to meet her! Finally, after the program last night we spent some time having a little food and drink with a few of our attendees. Needless to say the ideas were flowing freely! How about flesh toned duct tape to keep those little ones in place during a session. Or, and this is Terri’s awesome idea, how about a mobile-theater style surround sound consultation/projection sales room that you could drive to a clients home? Sounds like a good idea to me! You just never know what you can come up with you interact with other photographers. For those of you who are new to the business, you need to join your local guild or state association. My late wife Sue and myself accredit a lot of our early success to these types of organizations. Always learning new ideas and then IMMPLIMENTING them is the key to making it in this business! Tonight we are in Houston, city #13. Hope to see you there! B.H.
Standing room only in Dallas!
Monday, Nov 26, 2007
Over 100 tonight in Dallas! I am sorry for not updating this earlier…it was a hectic day getting ready for such a large crowd! I touched on a great point tonight with a question from one of the attendees. A gentleman asked, “Why do my direct mailings to the affluent in my area not work as effectively anymore? I asked him, “What are you doing that is unique and sets yourself apart from other portrait studio’s in the area?” The type of clientele that YOU should be looking for are looking for something different. This is not just in your image creation, but in your style of marketing. One example I show in the program is the use of Marathon Press’s Variable Data Technology on all our senior and pin-point family marketing campaigns. We continue to see an increase in our senior revenue as well as the quality of family clients because of these unique and custom cards. They are a little more expensive than your normal, average direct mail piece. Give them a try! Off to Austin in the morning! B.H.
Attitude is Everything!
Sunday, Nov 25, 2007
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it!” - Lou Holtz - I have found over the years that it takes just as much energy to see things in a negative light as it does to see them in a positive one. The best part of this life lesion is that good things happen when you ARE positive…with the same amount of energy expelled! Josh and I made it to Dallas today and I can’t wait to share the positive message tomorrow starting at 5pm! Try to come early; it’s going to be a packed house! Till tomorrow - B.H.
Saturday, Nov 24, 2007
After four projection sales appointments this morning, I am traveling two and a half hours to photographer a long time client who is in her final weeks of life on this planet. We must never forget how important our role is as Image Makers. Having the ability to capture an image that is distended to be one of the most cherished possessions that a family owns is remarkable. What an honor to be chosen to record the essence of someone’s soul in a photograph for future generations to enjoy! Today’s session will not be an easy task. What gives me strength is the knowledge that the image I create WILL also give strength through remembrance to the family in the coming weeks, months, and years. We must never forget what our role is as an Image Maker! Tomorrow it’s off the Texas and tour leg 3 & 4!
Friday, Nov 23, 2007
Today is supposedly the first day of the year that most retailers go from being in the red (non-profitable) to being in the black (profitable). As photographers and as business owners, what can we do to get in the black and stay there?
Here are some suggestions:
1.Keep in touch with your existing clients!
2.Offer products that include every aspect of the portrait lifecycle!
3.Give your clients such an incredible experience that they would never think of going anywhere else!
4.Remember to say thank you for referrals.
Let’s all turn “black Friday” into “black everyday”! If you have to work today make it a profitable one! For me, I have a “go-see” at 11am at a client’s home under construction to size a new portrait. Then it’s family time and our tradition to go to downtown Seattle for the annual tree lighting ceremony and a little shopping, to help with “black Friday” retailers! Enjoy your day!
Thursday, Nov 22, 2007
From my family to your family! Happy Thanksgiving! Dark meat or white meat? Whole cranberries or jelled? Stuffing with oysters or without? Football or Chevy Chase’s Christmas vacation? Thanksgiving dinner at noon or at dinner time? Whatever tradition your family is famous for, this day of rest and thanks, it’s all good! As for my family . . . it’s dark (except for Terri and Kenna), whole, without, Christmas vacation (continuously) and at dinner time! Remember life isn’t a rehearsal, enjoy!
Happy Thanksgiving, B.H.
A day to definitely be organized!
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007
Josh and I returned from Indy yesterday afternoon, to a “back to reality” kind of day, a day, which definitely needs to be organized. My office manager Debbie (of eighteen years) and Kelly, my production manager, booked me extremely tight while I am home!
This morning started with an 8am meeting at my new home/studio with my contractor. We are 4-5 weeks from finishing, YEAH! The rest of the day included 4 month old Tori, two senior sessions, one engagement session, one family session, two projection sales appointments and a 6pm a wedding premier showing (wedding projection)!
It’s amazing what YOU can do when you have a plan to organize your day! It’s also great when you have a staff that understands the importance of time management. They make ME look good!
On behalf of Josh and myself, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
A Humble Thank You!
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2007
With the eve of Thanksgiving coming in a couple of days, it’s time to reflect upon all the photographers Josh and I have had the pleasure of meeting during the last two weeks on the road. Last night in Indianapolis we finished our 10th city of the 50 we will be visiting between now and the end of April. I can’t express how humbling an experience this tour has been. To have excited veterans as well as new and aspiring photographers driving 2, 3, even 4 hours to hear my message is (once again) a truly humbling experience. I have been extremely fortunate in my 25 year career to have mentors that have shared their secrets to success in this business. Even though I have had the opportunity to speak and lecture for the past 15 years and share those secrets with thousands of photographers…This tour is MUCH different! I can’t quite put my finger on the “why it’s different” but I’ll try! First, I’m seeing a lot of frustration with well established studio owners. Business has changed and the traditional forms of marketing are just not as effective as they used to be. I’m also hearing, “I thought this new digital technology was supposed to make our life easier NOT harder!” Second, on a more personal note, the enthusiasm and passion of the attendees to want to learn what it takes to create and maintain a successful studio is overwhelming at times (but I am loving every minute of it)! It’s extremely rewarding standing in front of a group of eager people and watching their light bulbs turn on as I share a concept. Third, not to be selfish but…I am in a REALLY good place right now in my life. I’ve always been a positive and upbeat person but my “happiness level” is off the charts! All I heard on Terri and mine’s wedding day on Oct. 6th (six and a half weeks ago) was, “Bruce, I haven’t seen you this happy in a long time!” Terri and I have an amazing relationship. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside! My daughter McKenna is in her final weeks of school at Washington State University and is excited to start student teaching (kindergarten I might add) after the Christmas break. I don’t think I have ever seen a person that is better suited to become a teacher - I couldn’t be more proud! And finally, traveling the country with my son Josh. Even though we don’t have a lot of time to relax and sight see it’s been a trip of a lifetime! Luckily he is sooo like his mother - easy going and organized! Having him by my side has made all the travel, set-up, tear down, and late nights finding a restaurant open worth the hassle. As he fearlessly stands in front of a different crowd at each city to introduce me, I smile as I fondly remember him and McKenna on many speaking trips playing with their Gameboy’s in the back of the rooms. Yes I am really in a “good place” in my life and I am very blessed and thankful for my family. Not to mention all the opportunities that have come my way in the last 52 years. Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Make sure and take some time for yourself and your family this Thanksgiving. There really is more to life than PhotoShop! Till tomorrow, B.H.
“P” Stands for Professional!
Monday, Nov 19, 2007
During a standing room only crowd last night in Louisville, I was enlightened by a fellow photographer that the setting “P” on today’s digital cameras stands for professional. I then asked him, “So what does the A stand for?” The crowd had a good laugh! Another memorable quote from the night came from a gentleman who referred to some new wedding photographers in his area as “Shoot & Burn Weddings.” This concept of just photographing and then giving the images away to the client is nothing new in our industry. Before digital, many photographers used to give the negatives away…sometimes even the unprocessed roles of film! The type of client that is looking for this kind of service is obviously more price conscious than image conscious . They existed in the past, they exist now, and will exist in the future. The only difference today is that aspiring photographers initial investment is a fraction of what was years ago. Investing in a medium format system kept many hobbyists from taking the plunge. Today the affordability of a camera, with the auto settings such as “The Professional” P, and the instant feed back on an image makes jumping into the profession extremely easy and cost effective. Is this all doom and gloom? Absolutely not! All indications and what we are hearing in all parts of the country are showing us that as fast as these new “Professionals” are getting into the business…they are getting out just as quick! Hang in there! Work on your marketing and educate your clients to the difference between setting the camera on “P” and truly creating a unique and professional image. - Josh and I had a great time last night in Louisville and had an awesome dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse…thanks to Bruce and H&H Color Lab! We are on our way to Indianapolis, the last city for this leg! Then we get to fly home and be slammed at the studio until Turkey Day! B.H.
Trojan Horse Continued…
Sunday, Nov 18, 2007
“Online Proofing is the Trojan Horse for the Photographic Industry.” This was my response to a question in St. Louis. “How do you feel about online proofing,” one lady asked. “Do you ever use online proofing?” Absolutely! EventPix.com is great. But, I only use this wonderful technology AFTER and ONLY AFTER the main sale has been made in my projection room. Your clients deserve for you to take the time and assist them in making their choices. This should be done under optimum conditions. In my opinion, projection of the images on a large screen or on a large plasma is the best and only way! This is one of the important topics I have been covering while on tour. If you can’t be at one of the upcoming cities and are looking for more information on how to sell with projection, I highly recommend my newest DVD set “The Secrets of Projection Sales.” On a personal note…yesterday Josh and I had a well deserved day off and got to visit the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis. Amazing! Check out this weeks “Image of the week!” I am looking forward to meeting today’s group of photographers here in Louisville, KY. It looks like another packed house, enjoy your Sunday - Go SeaHawks!
- PS. Josh and I had a great dinner last night at a local restaurant here in Louisville called John E’s. Josh even had their famous “Derby Pie!” He also got to experience his first Waffle House restaurant this morning…and real Southern Grits!
“Online Proofing is the Trojan Horse in Today’s Photographic Industry” - B.H.
Saturday, Nov 17, 2007
Josh and I are on our way to Louisville. I will elaborate and update tonight! - B.H.
Giving Them a Reason to Come Back...Part 2!
Friday, Nov 16, 2007
Driving to Kansas City gave us the opportunity to see the Flint Hill Region on I-35. Josh had never seen working oil wells before so the 3 hour trip went quickly as he pointed to all the rigs pumping away as oil hits $100 a barrel! On a even more personal note I am noticing that both Josh and I are using our cell phones a lot more than usual to keep in touch with our significant others. Mine being my wife Terri of only 5 weeks and Josh’s girlfriend Melissa of 2 years next month. We miss you guys, wish you could be here with us!!! We love being on the road and sharing successful strategies with photographers, in fact we had our largest crowd last night of over 100. I am finding out that some of our attendees are actually coming from pretty far away to see the program before it comes to a city closer to them. Many have said that they want to learn the concepts and implement them before the competition does in their town. After the program last night, most of the people were saying that they will be coming back when I am closer to their cities…just to soak it all in again! What a compliment! If you read yesterdays entry, you know that Josh and I wrote about our experience at Old Chicago’s. Thanks to our H and H Color Lab Representative Michelle, we were able to return to an Old Chicago’s near the seminar location last night. Josh was able to add to his Beer World Tour by trying a couple new brews. We also noticed that they have a frequent diners club that you can register online for. Sometimes all of us need to stop and observe what other businesses are doing outside our industry for ideas on how to better our studios. In the program I talk a lot about creating the experience and maintaining the relationship. Old Chicago’s does this extremely well! Not only do they give you multiple reasons to not only come back, but to come back on a more frequent basis, they also create a joyful and memorable experience by having consistently good service and also having that days sports page above the toilets in the men’s restroom! I know this sounds silly but these little sodalities really make them stand out. Old Chicago’s understands and implements the strategies and concepts that set them apart from their competition. AND gives their patrons a reason to come back! In this new age of digital photography and competition, we can all use something to set us apart!
B.H. - PS. We are on our way to St. Louis…see you there!
Give Them a Reason to Come Back!
Thursday, Nov 15, 2007
(I am sorry for not having this updated sooner. We had an issue with our server!) - After the program last night Josh and I had the opportunity to hang out with a couple of our attendees and experience a restaurant/bar called Old Chicago. One of the notable features of this restaurant is that they offer 101 different beers! They even have a program for its loyal patrons called the World Beer Tour. This encourages customers to experience every beer they have to offer and thus comeback on a more frequent basis than they normally would. They even have a membership card that keeps track of your progress that is good at all of the Old Chicago restaurants around the country. Our server mentioned that many of his regulars are on their 3rd or 4th tour! That means they have drank their way through all 101 beers several times over. Talk about repeat business! Another observation of mine was on the comment card that Josh and I filled out. It had your basic “How did we do?” and “Rate your experience,” it also had a very interesting question for gauging your customers habits. It read, “If I wasn’t eating at Old Chicago right now, I would probably be eating at.” It was a great meal, great company, and a memorable experience that Josh and I will not soon forget. This is what we all should strive for in our business as well. Always give them a reason to come back! See you in Kansas City! B.H. - PS. Josh joined the World Beer Tour and you know we will be looking for other Old Chicago’s during our 50 city adventure!
What’s Happening to our Industry?
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007
Josh and I packed warmer clothing expecting cooler temperatures in Oklahoma City. This what not the case. Remember we are from Seattle and we whine when its over 70 degrees! We had time for a delightful lunch in Bricktown at Toby Keith’s famous “I Love This Bar & Grill.” I even had Toby’s personal favorite Fried Bologna Sandwich. Josh and I also visited the Sonic corporate headquarters (we are a huge fan of Sonic, we don’t have them in Seattle) along with myself introducing him to his first Bass Pro Shop & Outdoor World. Do those guys know how to merchandise or what! It was a great lead up for last nights seminar, where we had another packed house in Oklahoma City! When I gave my assessment of what has been going on in our industry with regards to the “Digital Revolution,” one of the tour attendees named Chris Heldenbrand from Oklahoma City had to say this: “The proliferation of cheap digital cameras has produced a bumper crop of new photographers. Many of them will start out undercutting prices in the market place, much like we did when we were starting out. But we were mentored by the older, more experienced photographers who convinced us to raise our prices commensurate to our skills. The marketplace will shake out the bad ones, the good ones will probably make it, and the smart ones will do well. Customers still get what they pay for - potential clients shopping on price alone are not clients we particularly want.” Thanks Chris for a concise overview of what’s happening to our industry not just in Oklahoma, but across the country. No matter how many digital cameras are manufactured and sold, the consumers that are only concerned with price will always be there…and always have! These are not the clients that we should marketing or catering to in the long run. Off to Wichita! B.H.
Excellent Customer Service at ANY Level
Tuesday, Nov 13, 2007
Josh and I arrived in Oklahoma City late last night due to a two hour delay out of Dallas. After checking in at our hotel, we were both starving. The only place open past midnight was an IHOP next to our hotel. I felt bad because this was supposed to be Josh’s 25th birthday dinner. The meal was actually very good but the service was truly excellent! Our waitress had a great personality and was attentive to our every need! This is a great lesson for all of us. Excellent customer service can be executed at any level. My it be a client booking your largest wedding package or buying the “big” 8x10, it’s important to always give the best possible customer service you can deliver! - For those of you coming tonight in Oklahoma City, I look forward to meeting you in person! See you at 5pm!
LIVE from Oklahoma City!
Monday, Nov 12, 2007
Live from Oklahoma City! Josh and I are currently on our way to Oklahoma City to start the second leg of our tour. I am reminded today of a phrase that Sue and I used to use on a daily basis while she was alive, “Life is not a rehearsal!” Everyday that we wake up is a gift and life is too short to put what is important to us off. If you get the urge to try something new today…Do It! I know sometimes change in life and business can seem scary. What is truly scary is the alternative, looking back when it is too late with regret. On a lighter note, all this week Josh and I will be updating The Daily Mentor Minute from the road! We will be posting questions from our audience in each city along with my answers. Check back daily and have a great week everyone! B.H. - PS. Happy Birthday Josh, he is 25 today!
Ken Whitmire...What an Honor!
Sunday, Nov 11, 2007
My interview with Ken was just amazing. I studied with him more than 20 years ago. I learned how to create and sell large wall décor which is the most profitable product we can offer our clients. This will also set you apart from the professionals that may only charge for their time and then give all the images on a CD. Wall portraits are works of art that only a professional lab can create. Also, if you want to sell large wall portraits you have to start thinking in those terms. It also comes down to educating your clients to all the possibilities using the consultation process. For those of you who are Monthly Mentor Members, the Ken Whitmire interview is going to be a two parts! Be on the look out for it in the coming months! Have a great Sunday! B.H. PS – The WSU Cougars won 33-17! Go Cougs!
Finding the Balance
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007
Finding a Balance -
Life is a balancing act. Business, family, and your “Bruce time.” Today is all about family- specifically my daughter McKenna and Dad’s Weekend at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. McKenna is in her final weeks of school before coming home to student teach after the Christmas break. She is going to be an amazing teacher and I am so proud to be her father. So where does the balancing act come into this little story? Well, I passed up a wedding today of a new young doctor that moved to the Seattle area. Great potential as a client but “Dad’s Weekend” and my daughter’s happiness is more important. There’s the balance! Have a great Saturday! PS. Here’s the other side of the balance coin- on the way to Pullman I am stopping to see an old friend and one of my mentors, Ken Whitmire. I am interviewing him for an up-coming Monthly Mentor issue.
"The Only Way Around is Through!" Robert Frost
Friday, Nov 09, 2007
Try something new today. As you go through your action or to-do list, prioritize your items from the hardest to the easiest. Most of us because of human nature tend to do the easiest first and the hardest last. Today tackle the more difficult items first! Much like the quote, the only way to get around a task that you have been putting off is to go through it and just get it done. You will be surprised, the more you begin to do the difficult tasks first the more efficient and proactive you will become in both life and business! Trust me, “the only way around is through!”
Have a safe and productive weekend!
It's All About Relationships - Part One
Thursday, Nov 08, 2007
It’s All About Relationships - Part One
Eight appointments yesterday, each client started their journey with my studio at a early stage of the “lifecycle.” One was a former wedding client of 12 years ago now with twin 6 month olds. Another was a class of 1999 senior who just booked me for her wedding in July. It’s all about relationships! I have been stressing this for years to all my students. I even wrote a book about it! Never, Never, over sell! Always keep in touch with your clients and always think of the big picture. The studio lifecycle is the secret to your business’s future. A 10 year old yesterday told me she couldn’t wait for me to do her senior portraits in 8 years. I said, “ I’ll be 60 years old!” An hour later I had the honor of photographing the sharpest and youngest looking 85 year old man I have ever met. He mentioned on his way out “you better be around when I turn 100 in 15 years!” “That means I’ll be 67 when I photograph you,” I said. He spouted off, “you’re merely a child my son…a child!” It’s all about relationships- Building, Maintaining, and just Plain Enjoying! Have a great day and always keep the big picture in mind when dealing with every client!
"Success is formed outside your comfort zone" Bruce & Sue Hudson 1994
Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007
Sometimes it takes feeling a little uncomfortable before you can move forward in life and business. Do one positive action today outside your normal routine! You'll survive...you may even see some surprising results!
See you tomorrow,
4 Cities Down...46 To Go!
Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007
My son josh and I just finished the first 4 cities on our New Directions/ Reality Check Tour! The response has been incredible from our fellow photographers that we have met in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and last night here in Orlando.
“Thanks for the inspiring evening at the "New Directions/Reality Check
Seminar. As always we went home with lots of notes and many action items. Even a seasoned professional finds many ideas that we can implement in our business. Thank you for taking time from your life and business to share with all of us.”
Betty Huth and Ed Booth
I really feel that my message is hitting a much needed Nerve with photographers in that “It takes more than creating award winning images to be successful in this business!” Josh and I were back in the office yesterday and back to the normal studio grind! We had our annual Portraits in the Leaves Portrait Safari this last weekend and the studio is slammed with projection sales appointments from it.
A Portrait Safari is basically when we set up shop at a park, lake, or even Tuscany for a day of family portraits for our clients. It is a great way to train your clients, much like a dentist or an auto mechanic does, to use our services and update their family portraits on a more regular basis. Try them, they really work. We just had over 15 sessions in two days at a wonderful park in Maple Valley, WA just South of Seattle. We also complete the experience with hot, homemade chili, apple cider, and even cookies for the kids!
See you tomorrow,